Lindsay Wagner just keeps on tickin' in 'Babies'


September 17, 1990|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

"Babies" is about baby boomers: having babies, wanting to but not being able to have babies, obsessing about having babies, adopting babies and, in some cases, deciding not to have babies.

The made-for-TV movie, which airs at 9 tonight on WMAR-TV (Channel 2), is television doing one of the things it does best and worst: sociology. It is entertainment television plugging into and dramatizing a real social movement.

Often when made-for-TV movies do that, they are more exploitative than illuminating.

Most viewers probably won't find "Babies" illuminating. But they zTC won't find it exploitative, either. Overall, it's a worthwhile movie. It's entertaining (marginally) and deals with issues on the minds of many folks. And it does so with some recognition (marginally) that such issues cannot always be solved through pat, easy, upbeat answers.

Lindsay Wagner and the character she plays, Yvonne (no last name given), are the salvation of this film about three women friends who all hear their biological clocks ticking.

Yvonne, 39, is the chairman of a university English Department. She is reeling a bit emotionally from a relationship that ended mutually because her boyfriend didn't want to make much of a commitment. While her career goes along swimmingly, her personal life stumbles.

She decides to explore the possibility of having a child on her own through artificial insemination. Her final choices save the movie from overpredictability, though the screenwriters can't totally restrain themselves at the very end from making her look sad and lonely.

Wagner is an underrated television actress whose greatest virtue is tenacity. She almost never gives up on a scene. She saves a lot of uninspired scenes with that tenacity tonight.

"Babies" is ultimately about baby-boomers defining themselves through their babies. That's an important generational issue and social movement.

Wagner's character is allowed (marginally) to challenge the notion that the only path to happiness and fulfillment is through the maternity ward. That makes this a film worth watching and maybe even thinking about.

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